PrintWorks – Using Pastel Paper to Tackle Dyslexia
By Arora Maravich
One of the most frustrating things for parents and teachers alike is when a student is struggling, and it is unclear how to best assist them. No one wants to see their child struggle to learn to read, and not knowing how to make the highly complex and multi-layered reading process accessible to students with reading disabilities, such as dyslexia, can be heart-breaking. You may be surprised to hear that font style, font size, and the color of paper can help students with reading and reading comprehension issues! Studies have found that students with dyslexia may benefit from using different color paper or paper overlays because it reduces stress on the eyes.
Wondering which fonts and paper colors to use? Well, every student learns differently, and every student with dyslexia experiences it differently, but generally, it is recommended to use sans-serif fonts (Arial and Comic Sans) with a 12-14 points font size (or larger), avoid underling multiple words or using italics (as that can make the letters appear to run together), and to use a lighter colored paper and dark font color. White paper can be too bright, so it’s best to use pastel colored paper. It has also been found that students that struggle with reading comprehension perform better with blue overlays on text, and worse with red overlays on text, so it’s probably best to avoid the pastel pink, and opt instead for pastel blue, pastel green, pastel yellow, or pastel purple paper.
Printing on pastel colored paper for all students, as opposed to using colored overlays for students that are struggling, may be the better option because it is a form of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is the concept that implementing accommodations and modifications in the classroom for students with disabilities can benefit others without taking away from anyone, much in the same way that accessible ramps are helpful in many ways and do no harm. You can learn more about UDL at their website. Implementing pastel colored paper for the entire class, therefore, may benefit students that have not been as clearly struggling or assist in memory or engagement, and it will avoid singling out the student that is being accommodated for. This destigmatizes the reading disability for that student, and, let’s face it, colored paper is more fun, anyway!
PrintWorks offers assorted color packs of pastel paper made from 30% recycled materials and made in the USA. With PrintWorks Pastel Paper you can create and print colorful flyers, signs, school and craft projects and more!
About Arora Maravich
Arora received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and studied at Duke University Graduate School in NC. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Teaching – Special Education from Relay Graduate School of Education in Wilmington, DE. Arora is certified as a structured literacy/dyslexia interventionist through the Center for Effective Reading and certified at the teaching level through the Reading Assist Intervention Program. Arora has Emergency Certifications as a Middle Level English Language Arts Teacher (Grades 6-8) and an Elementary Teacher (Grades K-6), as well as a Certificate of Eligibility in Special Education Teacher of Students with Disabilities (Grades K-12). Arora currently teaches second grade in Wilmington, DE.